Idaho becomes first state to ban critical race theory in schools
Idaho Governor Brad Little signed legislation aimed at preventing schools and universities from “indoctrinating” students through teaching critical race theory.
The bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Carl Crabtree, “prevents educators from making students ‘affirm, adopt or adhere to’ belief systems that claim individuals of any race, sex, ethnicity, religion or national origin are responsible for past actions done by members of the same group.”
“It is a preventative measure,” Sen. Crabtree argued earlier this week on the Senate floor. “It does not indicate that we have a rampant problem in Idaho. But we don’t want to get one.”
Educators will also be prohibited “from forcing students onto belief systems that claim a group of people as defined by sex, race, ethnicity or religion are inferior or superior to others.”
The move comes as parents across the country are raising concern over the teaching of critical race theory in schools. The main tenants of the theory are that the United States is a fundamentally racist country and citizens can be inherently racist based on their skin color.
“The claim that there is widespread, systemic indoctrination occurring in Idaho classrooms is a serious allegation,” Governor Little said. “Most worryingly, it undermines popular support for public education in Idaho.”
“We need to refocus our efforts on the tremendous tasks ahead — coming out of the pandemic, addressing the challenges associated with learning loss across elementary and secondary education, and preparing our students to be college — and career-ready,” Little added.
Republicans nation wide have spoken out against critical race theory.
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott blasted the theory during his rebuttal speech to President Joe Biden’s address to Congress on Wednesday.
“Today, kids are being taught that the color of their skin defines them again — and if they look a certain way, they’re an oppressor,” Scott said. “From colleges to corporations to our culture, people are making money and gaining power by pretending we haven’t made any progress at all, by doubling down on the divisions we’ve worked so hard to heal.”
“You know this stuff is wrong,” he added. “Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country. It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination. And it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”
Other state legislatures have proposed similar bans including Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Missouri.
Former President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning federal agencies and their contractors from teaching critical race theory, however President Joe Biden reversed the ban during his first week in office.